Superdry founder and top team both speak to investors as strategy spat heats up

The strategy spat that’s currently playing out in public between Superdry co-founder/major shareholder Julian Dunkerton and its management has seen Dunkerton claiming that he’s making an impact.


Superdry

He said that he met eight of the firm’s 10 biggest shareholders at the weekend and saw a big surge in support for his bid to oust CEO Euan Sutherland. He’s also reportedly working with a broker to reach out to investors with smaller shareholdings.

“I’ve had no pushback on any of the logic,” he told The Telegraph. “There has been a seismic shift in understanding the opportunities this business has to offer.”

Superdry’s current management meanwhile said it has launched a “programme of consultation” with institutional shareholders.

Dunkerton’s views can’t be ignored given his status as co-founder and the fact that he still owns a 28% stake in the firm, making him its biggest single shareholder. And it seems that the other co-founder, James Holder, is supporting him, adding further weight to Dunkerton’s views as Holder owns just under 10% of the firm.

But what exactly does he want to do? He’s aiming to cut the number of items sold in the brand’s stores and widen the offering online. It’s a strategy shareholders are more likely to take notice of given Superdry’s profit warning last month that saw it admitting the hot summer caused problems for a brand heavily dependent on outerwear.

However, chairman Peter Bamford has pushed back and said that Dunkerton’s thinking hasn’t “evolved with the needs of our business” with other shareholders initially agreeing with this stance.

Dunkerton, who stepped down to focus on other projects but also because he was unhappy with the firm’s direction, has said he’s not aiming to come back as CEO. “What I want to do is be the product and brand director. That’s my ambition,” he said.

Clearly, he’s not going to let this one go and he also met with Bamford late last week but it appears that neither party came out of the meeting with a change of mind. What will happen next? Watch this space.

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